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Dublin: 7 °C Friday 19 April, 2019
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Calls for marriage equality as huge crowds gather in Belfast for this year's Pride event

Campaigners used the parade as an opportunity to call for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

Belfast Pride 2018 Source: Michael Cooper

HUGE CROWDS GATHERED in Belfast today to celebrate the LGBT community at the city’s Pride event.

The parade included a call from some groups for equal marriage in Northern Ireland.

While most of the North’s political parties took part, the DUP did not.

Belfast Pride 2018 Source: Michael Cooper

Patrick Corrigan of the Love Equality coalition said that Pride is “still a protest in Belfast”:

“The LGBT+ community in Northern Ireland, their friends, families and allies, have come out today to demand equality for all.

“Pride is always the most colourful day of the year in Belfast. This year it is bigger and brighter than ever. Behind the glitter, there is real anger, but also a determination that discrimination against LGBT+ people must end.”

Belfast Pride 2018Miz Tasty and Red Scarlet taking part in the Belfast Pride paradeSource: Michael Cooper

He described Northern Ireland as "now years behind the rest of the UK and Ireland on marriage equality".

People on the streets of Belfast today are sick of a second-class citizenship based on who they are and where they live.
Theresa May and Karen Bradley should be ashamed that, eighteen months after the collapse of devolution, same-sex couples in Northern Ireland are still waiting to be treated as equals. This is now in their hands.

The Love Equality campaign for equal marriage in Northern Ireland is led by the Rainbow Project, Amnesty International, Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Cara-Friend, NUS-USI and HereNI.

Belfast Pride 2018A Police Service of Northern Ireland officer taking part in the Belfast Pride paradeSource: Michael Cooper

Groups participating in this year's event included the PSNI and members of An Garda Síochána.

The parade has been running for 25 years in Belfast and this year's theme was 'Come Out for Change'.

The organisers said:

There has been little or no progress on the issues that affect our community including homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, bullying and inclusive RSE in schools, gender recognition rights, fertility rights, mental health, marriage equality and Prep access. We have the right to feel safe and to be ourselves in our own great city and we want to see more hate crime reported and dealt with.
Belfast Pride is a protest and a celebration – we need to continue to protest to show that we won’t accept being treated as lesser than our fellow citizens and that this situation needs to change now. The lack of equality here is damaging lives, causing real hurt and cannot continue.

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